Finally got the event underway after being cancelled in march due to snow. A last minute withdrawal by Gloucester meant a three team “round robin” event between Yorkshire, current holders Durham and Hertfordshire. Unfortunately we drew the short straw and had to play 2 matches on Sunday – a tough ask.
First up Hertfordshire. Starting things off at 5, Phil Davis. After a see-saw battle with 3 games going to deuce, I eventually lost 14-12 in the 5th. No captains performance there then! 3’s on next with Simon Gittins debuting for YorkshireOver 45’s. After a tough match, Simon lost out 3-1. Onto the no1’s and our “trump card” former world no.3 Simon Parke also debuting for the 45’s. It soon became apparent that Simon’s skill levels were too much for his opponent. Simon winning 3-0. On next we’re the 2 & 4 strings. Jon Lilley at 2 won the 1st comfortably and in the 2nd his opponent retired injured – 3-0 match to Yorkshire. That left the overall match score finely balanced at 2-2 with John Riley hoping to seal the win at 4. John was quick out of the blocks to go into a 2-0 lead only to be pegged back 2-2 by a very stubborn opponent. The nerves were definitely jangling. John played well winning the 5th 11-8.
Match to Yorkshire3-2. Bring on Durham!
After a touch of lunch and some rehydrating, time to lock horns with reigning champions Durham. They had beaten Hertfordshire 3-2 on Saturday so had the benefit of overnight rest.
5’s and 4’s on first. At 4 Simon Gittins breezed past his opponent 3-0 to get us off to a great start. At 5 John Riley, with the least turnaround time of all of us, John was visibly fatigued but he still had enough left in the tank to seal a 3-0 victory. At 3, Stuart Hargreaves stepped in fresh from his holidays to get a hard fought 3-0 victory over club colleague, Peter Lonsdale, gaining revenge for his loss to Peter in stage 1. On the adjacent court, no1 Simon Parke was taking on Yawar Abbas in an epic encounter. Simon showing his skill to take a 2-0 lead and Yawar showing his speed and fitness to claw it back 2-2. Simon played some delightful shots in the 5th to gain the initiative and to take the match 11-4 in the 5th. Finally at number 2 Jon Lilley playing an opponent who never seems to get tired or lose! Unfortunately for Jon, his opponent was just too strong with Jon losing out 3-0.
Overall result, match to Yorkshire 4-1.
Left to Right. Jon Lilley, Stuart Hargreaves, Simon Gittins, Phil Davis (capt), John Riley & Simon Parke.